David Briley sworn in as Nashville mayor

David Briley, Nashville’s vice mayor for the past two and a half years, was sworn in as Metro government’s eighth mayor Tuesday evening, replacing Megan Barry who resigned in disgrace earlier in the day, reports The Tennessean.

In a scene like nothing before in city history, Briley took an oath of office at the council’s chambers, becoming the first Metro Nashville vice mayor ever to replace a mayor in the middle of a term.

…”This day presents a unique challenge for me and my family, but also for this council and for everybody who works for Metro government,” Briley said.

“My mettle is going to be tested but I’m convinced that the strong spirit of this city, which inspires us to accomplish so much, will prevail. Let me end by saying, I will work my heart out to meet this challenge.”

…An election is set for August to replace Barry full-time. Although Briley is considered a prime candidate, he did not say whether he will run.

“There’s plenty of days for politics, but this ain’t one of them,” he said.

Briley, a liberal Democrat and former two-term at-large councilman who resides in the Salemtown neighborhood near downtown, is the grandson of Beverly Briley, the first mayor of Nashville’s consolidated Metro government, elected in 1963.

Further from WPLN:

The new mayor of Nashville described his first, unexpected hours in office on Tuesday as “drinking from a fire hose” — from small tasks like getting a new ID badge made, to taking calls from former mayors, to talking about school funding with the district’s director.

Amid that scramble, he also composed a formal statement reacting to news of Megan Barry’s resignation, wrote up his priorities and by 5:30 p.m. was taking questions from reporters until they had no more to ask.

…(H)is clear top agenda item: passing the mass transit referendum to fund the city’s first light rail lines.

“I’ve been behind that from the very beginning. It is the most important thing that is confronting our city right now,” Briley said.

He characterized the coming vote on May 1 as a turning point for Nashville.

“That’s what this moment is about: Is Nashville going to make an investment in itself? Do you want to live in a city that is prosperous in 20, in 50, in 100 years? You have to make this investment if you want that,” Briley said.

3 Responses to David Briley sworn in as Nashville mayor

  • Henry Walker says:

    Just for the record, David Briley is carrying out the duties of the office of mayor. He is NOT the mayor. That office is currently vacant. David remains the vice mayor and will resume the duties of vice mayor—presiding over the council— after the vacancy in the office of mayor is filled through a special election. Of course if David himself is elected mayor, he will become mayor and give up his position as vice mayor.

    This is all spelled out in Section 5.05 of the Metro Charter :

    ” The vice mayor shall be elected for a term of four (4) years and until his successor is elected and qualified. He shall possess the qualifications of the mayor and shall be compensated at the rate of forty two hundred ($4,200) dollars per annum, payable semimonthly. In the event the office of mayor becomes vacant, the vice mayor shall serve as mayor and be compensated as such until the vacancy is filled at a special election or at a general election, as provided in section 15.03 of this Charter. During the time that the vice mayor shall serve as mayor, he shall cease to act as presiding officer of the council.”

    Read it carefully. If the vice mayor automatically became the mayor (as the Vice President becomes President under the 25th Amendment) there would be no need to specify that the vice mayor receives the mayor’s higher salary. He could get it automatically. Second, he receives that salary until “the vacancy” is filled. If he actually became the mayor, there would be no “vacancy” to fill. Finally, if he did not remain the vice mayor while carrying out the duties of mayor, there would be no need to explain that he does not preside over the Council ( the vice mayor’s main duty under the Charter) during this interim period.

    In other words, the office of mayor remains vacant until the special election; David Briley is fulfilling the duties of mayor and being paid the mayor’s salary until the special election; and—because no one at the courthouse seems to have read the Charter— we now have two Vice Mayors.

    • Erik Schelzig says:

      “During the time that the vice mayor shall serve as mayor.” So someone serving as mayor is not the mayor? Seems like a distinction without a difference.

  • Henry Walker says:

    Legally, Briley has all the powers of the office of mayor but he is not the mayor and should not have been sworn in.

    Why does it matter ? It doesn’t in terms of the legality of his actions. He has the full legal power of the office of Mayor. But it matters in other, smaller ways. 1. Since Sheri Weiner was sworn in as vice mayor yesterday, we now have two vice mayors and are wrongly paying the salary of the vice mayor to Weiner. 2. It means that if Briley runs and loses in the special election, he remains vice mayor, something that may come as a surprise to Weiner and to the public. 3.It arguably gives Briley an unfair advantage in the special election since he will be wrongly described as the incumbent Mayor. He is, more accurately, Vice Mayor Briley who is serving as acting Mayor until the special election. There’s a difference.
    One other point: who says the special election for Mayor will be held in August? Has anyone looked up the law ? The Charter (section 15.04) says we follow state election laws unless the Charter specifically says otherwise. The Charter says there has to be a special election if the mayor leaves office more than a year prior to the next mayoral election. It does not specify when the special election is to be held. State law, TCA 2-14-102, subsections (a) and (b), says that the a special election for a vacant municipal office must be held within 75 to 80 days. It also provides that if there is a regularly scheduled election within 30 days, one way or the other, of the special election date, the election commission may move the special election to coincide with the regular election. That means we could have the special election for Mayor on May 1.
    I understand the Davidson County Election Commission is already asking Metro Legal and the State Election Commission about the date of the special election.

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